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Grid penalty in Canada

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Monaco winner penalized after team is forced to replace burnt out power unit

SETBACK: Australian Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Aston Martin Red Bull Racing will start the Canadian Grand Prix from a less than ideal position following a pending grid penalty. Picture: EPA / Yoan Valat

Red Bull’s Daniel Ricciardo will have a grid penalty for Sunday’s Canadian Grand Prix after winning in Monaco with a damaged power unit, technical head Adrian Newey said on Monday.

The designer told Reuters at a Motorsport Hall of Fame awards event that a penalty of some sort was inevitable for the Australian, who is third in the championship behind Mercedes’ Lewis Hamilton and Ferrari’s Sebastian Vettel.

The top three have all won two races this season, but Ricciardo is 38 points off Hamilton’s lead due to reliability issues and a collision with teammate Max Verstappen in Azerbaijan.

“He will definitely be taking some penalties in Montreal, we haven’t heard at the moment just how many,” Newey said.

“One of things there is, is whether the battery was damaged or not in Monaco, so until we know that from Renault we don’t know exactly what we’re facing.

“The K is definitely a penalty,” added Newey, referring to the MGU-K, the motor generator unit that recovers the energy generated while braking.

The MGU-K on Ricciardo’s car stopped working completely during the Monaco race, which he won from pole position, and he raced without it for some 50 laps on the tight and twisty street circuit.

Some media reports after Monaco suggested engine providers Renault had discovered the MGU-K was salvageable, and that Ricciardo would escape a penalty, but Newey laughed at that suggestion. “I rather doubt it, considering it caught fire and was a burnt out, charred wreck,” he said. “I would be somewhat surprised at that one.”

Drivers are allowed three power units per season but only two MGU-Ks, two energy stores and two control units without incurring a 10 place penalty for the subsequent race. Ricciardo, who was third in Montreal last year behind the Mercedes pair of Hamilton and Valtteri Bottas, was already on his second MGU-K after a failure in Bahrain.

Renault, whose engines are branded Tag Heuer in the Red Bull, are bringing an upgrade to Canada but Newey said it would not be a massive step up.

“It’s about one percent (more power), which is a tenth of a second so it’s worth having but it’s not a make or break,” he said.

Reuters